The scientist, the physician and the engineer

Today, business evolves at a rapid pace. Innovation is more critical than ever. Health care is not an exception. Over the last 60 years there have been significant advances in medicine and there is clearly an opportunity to do more… much more.

As health care has become more complex, developing the products and services we will be using tomorrow and identifying ways to do better what we do today requires a wide breath of knowledge, skills and abilities. Multidisciplinary teams offer a unique space for nurturing new ideas, enabling them to grow, mature and evolve until they are ready for patients.

Scientists, physicians and engineers, even designers, are the professions that are clearly involved in the Med Tech industry. Put them in a room all together and sparks will fly and compelling solutions to medical needs will emerge.  That is if the collaborators trust each other and understand their different approaches to problem solving.

Differences in how to formulate and solve problems of physicians, engineers and scientists can also lead to some conflict. It is no news that the absence of a common vocabulary between these three types of professionals makes more difficult to communicate productively.

Physicians are trained to process patient symptoms and then determine the most common diagnosis based on historical information. Engineers make natural collaborations with physicians due to greater similarities in their approach to problem solving, compared to scientists.  Both types of professionals start with existing solutions that they apply to problems.  But engineers go one step further by utilizing existing solutions technology as the starting point for further optimization and customization.

However, scientists and engineers try to breakdown a problem to find a solution that requires the least amount of modification of an existing technology. In contrast to both engineers and physicians, scientists focus on components that can lead to a root cause of a problem.  But because the solutions are not practical or available at current time, this causes physicians’ and engineers’ frustration.

Professionals have different thinking styles depending on the formal training they received. In the following video you can listen to Dan Azagury MD, surgeon at Hôpitaux Universitaires in Geneva and lecturer at Design Health Barcelona program, explaining his own experience doing medical innovation in multidisciplinary teams as a 2011-2012 fellow of Stanford Biodesign and how it lead to co-found Ciel Medical Inc.

 

You can also learn more about the different ways of thinking of scientists, engineers and physicians and how to take advantage of them to bring ideas to life, communicate better and foster health care innovation in the following article written by Dan Buckland at Harvard and MIT at MedGadget.

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